Fri, Mar 08, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Toyota may pull out of UK if no Brexit deal

CRASH OUT:The decision follows Nissan’s dropping of a plan to manufacture its X-Trail SUV in England and Honda’s announcement to end UK production in 2021

Bloomberg

Toyota Motor Corp’s GR Supra GT4 Concept is presented during press day at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Switzerland on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Toyota Motor Corp said that it might end manufacturing in the UK if the nation crashes out of the EU on unfavorable terms, joining other automakers reviewing their operations in Britain as negotiations toward Brexit drag on.

“If the business environment becomes very difficult to operate, of course, those types of decisions should be on the agenda,” Johan van Zyl, the Japanese company’s head of Europe, told reporters at the Geneva Motor Show on Wednesday. “But hopefully we will be able to avoid” a withdrawal.

The Toyota executive’s comments follow Nissan Motor Co’s decision last month to renege on plans to build the X-Trail sport utility vehicle in England and Honda Motor Co’s announcement to end production in the country in 2021.

Britain has long been a Japanese hub for European auto production, with Honda, Nissan and Toyota owning three of the nation’s six largest factories.

Toyota pledged an investment of £240 million (US$316 million at the current exchange rate) in 2017 to produce the new version of the Corolla in England and upgrade its vehicle platform, and now produces about 180,000 of the car a year at its plant Burnaston.

Toyota remains hopeful the UK and EU would reach an agreement on Brexit terms, Van Zyl said.

“If there is a bad Brexit, we will need to look at future investments,” he said.

Toyota might need to make decisions about the production of the next Corolla before the current version reaches the end of its model cycle in about 2023, Van Zyl said.

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